Gardaí believe killing linked to feud
Gardaí believe the shooting dead of veteran criminal Eamon Kelly represents the latest event in an increasingly violent feud between the Real IRA and some of the State’s largest criminal gangs.
A leading member of the dissident grouping was being held by gardaí last night after he was caught trying to flee what gardaí believe was the gunman’s getaway vehicle. Detectives believe Kelly, a 65-year-old father of nine and one-time suspected member of the Official IRA, was mentoring a number of drugs gangs behind the murder in September of Real IRA key figure Alan Ryan.
Gardaí are now trying to establish if Kelly, who had been warned by gardaí his life was in danger, was shot dead in direct retaliation for Ryan’s killing.
Dublin’s latest gun murder victim was returning to his home on Furry Park Road, Killester, north Dublin, just after 4pm yesterday when he was ambushed on the street.
Garda sources said a masked gunman got out of a Ford Mondeo driven by another man. The gunman approached Kelly, who realised what was happening and tried to run.
However, he was pursued and the killer fired up to six shots, fatally wounding the convicted cocaine dealer.
As the gunman jumped back into the waiting vehicle and was driven away at speed, nearby patrol cars and Garda specialist unit vehicles swarmed into the area. Gardaí in a patrol car saw two men set fire to a vehicle on the Stiles Road, Clontarf, not far from the murder scene. They gave chase on foot and arrested one of the men. The vehicle is believed to have been used by the killers.
The man arrested is a prominent member of the Real IRA and is from southwest Dublin. He has a string of criminal convictions including for firearms and robbery offences and membership of an illegal organisation.
The suspect, aged 32, was arrested under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and was still being held last night. While wounded several times, Kelly did not die at the scene and was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital. Despite efforts to save him he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The scene of the shooting was sealed off yesterday and underwent an examination by the Garda Technical Bureau. Gardaí are examining the vehicle abandoned in Clontarf.
The Irish Times understands Kelly was under Garda surveillance because of his continued involvement with organised crime gangs and also because he was regarded as being at high risk of being shot dead.
In September 2010 a gunman tried to shoot Kelly on the street outside his home, at the same spot where he was shot dead yesterday. The gunman’s firearm jammed.
Gardaí believe the Real IRA was behind that attempted murder in 2010.
They believe the dissident group regarded Kelly as a target because he was using his criminal experience to mentor the leading figures in the gangs who were resisting extortion demands from the Real IRA.
Intelligence received by gardaí also suggests the Real IRA believes Kelly was a key figure in organising the killing of leading member Alan Ryan in north Dublin on September 3rd last.